At Michael Rainey and Associates our Root Belief that systems cannot love your people for you, only you can do that!
If our faith lies in the system (hardware) instead of the human it should be designed to serve then we are, by definition, de-valuing the one thing (humans) that matters the most. If it is our belief that accomplishment of the mission and the welfare of our people must always be at the forefront of our mind, then we must specifically design and create mission command systems for invested leaders in a manner that is an ever-present reminder of the value of those human lives carrying out their decisions.
So the question is this… As a commander, how is your love for your people reflected in your systems?
“You’re screaming and I’m saying talk louder!” – John Coleman, 1LT US Army (at the time of quote)
Throughout my military career I was grateful to have leaders, commanders, and mentors that provided countless and invaluable pieces of advice, wisdom, and lessons learned. Looking back over the years, I remember quite a bit from my first duty station and my first leadership position. More than likely, this is due to the realization that I just had so much to learn. Everything was new. All seemingly a challenge. And many, many opportunities to fail.
As an aside, I would not recommend going to the best senior lieutenant in the battalion during your first week – while he is covering the guard post for one of his soldiers so that he could go eat (like I said, best lieutenant in the battalion) – and let him know in all of your ‘just out of the wrapper’ (his words, not mine) glory that you are taking over his platoon. Did I mention that being new gave me so many opportunities to learn new things…like how to not get off on the right foot of the one guy you were told to stick close to and try to emulate?
As he was my mentor (my words, not his), and because he stayed in the same company to take over the senior platoon leader position, he took the brunt of all my new found lessons learned after my most recent mistake / challenge / struggle / opportunity to excel. After one revelation that I was sharing with him from my well-worn soapbox, he finally turned to me and let me know that if I wanted to change something I was going to have to actually talk to the right people to make it happen. As he so eloquently put it in the quote above, he was on my side and I was ‘screaming’ at the wrong person.
If I wanted to affect change, it was not enough to be able to identify the gap or the problem to be solved. It must then be communicated clearly, concisely, and effectively; along with options that are suitable answers to the right questions, to those with the decision-making authority to do something about it. It is not enough to scream from the rooftops if what you are saying is not to the right people, with the right meaning, at the right time. A lesson that is as seemingly difficult today as it was back then (some twenty odd years ago).
Recently, I was reminded that this is not a unique problem to have or one that has been ‘solved’. A social media post in reference to the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) recently shared the first of five SOF (Special Operations Forces) Truths. These truths were first identified in their current form through a congressional report in the late 1980’s in reference to US and Soviet Special Operations. In the following years, they were adopted and elevated as ‘truths’ starting with the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School and Center, then the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) and finally USSOCOM.
SOF Truth #1: Humans are more important than hardware
Upon reading the first SOF Truth, I immediately wanted to shout for the Commander of USSOCOM to ‘talk louder’. To reinforce the truth that no system can ever be more important than the human it is designed specifically to support, and that I was on their side.
However, that desire to shout in unison quickly turned to anger and frustration that this truth would even need to be stated in the first place. Why is this truth not unequivocal? Is it questioned? Does it not ring true for each and every leader that has ever made a decision with lives in the balance?
And then the anger and frustration turned to resolve. A resolution that human-centered design should be known by its true name: design. Because it should be universally accepted that there is no other suitable and acceptable means to design and create otherwise.
This resolve feeds the root belief of Michael Rainey and Associates that I would like to (courteously) scream to every high-stakes decision maker, leader, and commander to the point where I cannot physically talk any louder.
How will we know we have reached the point where this type of mission command systems is in the hands of every leader that we care about? When we don’t have to talk louder at all!
We are Michael Rainey and Associates. We design mission command systems that (1) reveal operational context with which leaders have been blind, (2) reduce the uncertainties associated with combative environments, and (3) receive better ideas throughout all echelons of your organization.
Tell us the problem you are trying to solve!